Top 5 Most Dangerous Spiders in Georgia

black widow hanging inside

Georgia is a warm, summery haven for almost 40 different species of spiders. The vast majority of these spiders are harmless to humans, despite how scary they may or may not look. Some of the spiders in Georgia, however, can cause serious injury or (very rarely) death to humans. It’s important to know exactly what to look out for when it comes to possibly dangerous spiders, so that you know when it’s time to get to the emergency room rather than just slapping on some Neosporin and a Band-Aid and waiting it out. Here are the top 5 most dangerous spiders in Georgia.

5. False Black Widow – Steatoda grossa

As the name suggests, these little spiders are often confused for Black Widows, as they have a similar body shape and color. False Black Widows lack the characteristic hourglass shape on their abdomen, though. Their resemblance to the classic Black Widow is actually an evolutionary tactic they have acquired to help protect them from predators. They are often referred to as “cupboard spiders”, since they prefer dark, cool spaces. They do not jump or hunt, but rather build a web and wait for their prey to fall in.

The bite of this spider does contain venom, but it is meant to harm their prey, rather than humans. When a person is bitten, they may experience mild pain at the site of the bite that doesn’t radiate out very far from that site. The pain will probably only last 1-12 hours.

4. Brown Widow – Latrodectus geometricus

The Brown Widow is yet another cousin of the infamous Black Widow, but as the name suggests, it has lighter-color markings, with very light-colored legs, dark leg joints, and a yellow-orange-colored hourglass on the abdomen.

The bite of the Brown Widow is neurotoxic like that of the Black Widow, but it is considered much less dangerous because of the amount of venom that is injected during a bite. The affects of the venom of this Georgia spider tend to stay in the area of the bite, rather than traveling around the body. The bites tend to be quite painful but not life-threatening.

3. Brown Recluse – Loxosceles reclusa

The Brown Recluse has a characteristic light brown body and long, sprawling legs. If you get close enough, which we do not recommend, you may also be able to spot black markings and a black line going down the body, pointing towards the abdomen. Spiderlings (juvenile spiders) of this species look like little adults, and their venom can also be very dangerous to humans.

The bite of the Brown Recluse is what makes it one of the most dangerous spiders in Georgia. The effects of a bite from these spiders can range from mild to severe, with mild cases being similar to a bee sting and the most serious cases involving necrosis of the skin in the area of the bite and possible hospitalization. It’s important to note that while these spiders are hunting spiders and may have a reputation for being aggressive, this is false. They will often attempt to hide when approached by humans, and most cases of bites come from people putting on clothes or shoes that have been left alone for months or years.

2. Northern Black Widow – Latrodectus variolus

The Northern Black Widow spider is a close relative of the Southern Black Widow spider, and both can be found in Georgia. They are also found in cool, dark places like wood piles and stone walls. Northern Black Widows can be identified by their red markings on a solid black body, but their distinctive red hourglass marking appear split in the middle rather than a solid hourglass. There is also typically a row of red dots down the center of the body.

Bites from these spiders have a less than 1% mortality rate, and most of the time it only causes death in children. However, they are still highly dangerous, and their neurotoxic venom can cause intense spasming pain at the site of the bite before traveling to the trunk of the body and causing appendicitis-like cramping and abdominal pain. Other symptoms can include heavy sweating and nausea or vomiting. These symptoms can last 48 hours or longer. Adults who think they may have been bitten by any black widow spider should consult a doctor, and if you suspect that a child has been bitten you should go to an emergency room immediately.

1. Southern Black Widow – Latrodectus mactans

The Southern Black Widow is what you think of when you think of a common black widow spider. Females have the characteristic red hourglass on the underside of their solid black abdomen, which allows for easy identification. They are commonly found cool, dark places like rock crevices or wood piles, or any outdoor debris. They are most active at night, and are more likely to appear in the spring and summer.

Southern Black Widows are one of the most dangerous spiders in Georgia because of their venomous bite. Although there has never been a recorded case of death from a Southern Black Widow bite, they can be very painful. These spiders produce venom that affects the nervous system, which may cause immediate pain at the bite site, as well as burning, swelling, or redness. Other symptoms include stiff muscles, nausea, difficulty breathing, abdominal pain, sweating, itchy rash, or weakness or immobility of the legs. If you think you may have been bitten by a black widow, you should make an appointment with your doctor to get checked out. If a child may have been bitten, you should go to the emergency room right away.

Need help with spiders in your Georgia home?

If you’re experiencing an infestation of spiders, regardless of whether they’re a species toxic to humans or not, we can help. If you're in Savannah or the nearby areas, call Bee Green for pest control services today. 

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